Rebecca Warren| Naturopath, Nutritionist, Lecturer, Researcher and Can Tooer
As a previous participant and big-time Can Too supporter, I have designed these nutrition tips to help you along your Can Too journey.
My top 5 tips to fuel your body for maximum performance
1. Carbs are not evil, they are necessary
One of the biggest things I notice when people start exercising at an increased intensity is they either become a carb-junkie or carb-phobic and while it’s such a cliché, it really is all about balance! Balance in this sense means that you need to give as much love and attention to protein and healthy fats even when the only thing you can think about is a huge bowl of pasta!
As a general rule, for every serve of carbohydrates (i.e. ½ cup of cooked pasta, rice, cereal or grain or 2 pieces of bread) try and aim for a palm-sized (not hand-sized) amount of protein and about 2 - 3 fingers worth of good fats. The rest of your meal should be made up of brightly coloured fruits and veggies!
See some meal ideas below:
2. Watch your timing
The timing of when you eat is just as important as what you eat. You should aim to consume something with carbohydrates and protein within 30 – 60 minutes after you have finished exercise.
Aim to have your bigger meals of the day 2 – 3 hours before from your main training sessions. If this doesn’t work with your schedule, try to go for a smaller nutritious snack 45 – 60 minutes before.
3. Rehydration formulas
When we sweat, we don’t just loose water; we also lose electrolytes. Electrolytes help draw water into our cells so that they can continue to function effectively. If you don’t have the right balance of electrolytes, it doesn’t matter how much water you drink, your body won’t be able to get that water where it needs to go.
There are a variety of different formulas on the market and they are all slightly different. You need to find one that suits your body, and this can take some trial and error. Be on the lookout for ones that have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
4. Fine-tune your engine
When it comes to optimising performance, it’s not just about the fuel. As with your car, you also have to make sure you have the right amount of oil and brake fluid to ensure things run smoothly. This is where additional supplementation might be helpful.
You should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements (especially if you are on medication), but some worth knowing about include:
• Magnesium: helps with energy production, the relaxation of connective tissue and gets used at a much faster rate with increased exercise.
Common signs of deficiency include cramps twitches, fatigue and chocolate cravings!
• Co Enzyme Q¬10: needed by each of our cells to produce energy.
• Turmeric: a highly effective natural anti-inflammatory so is a great adjunct if you are managing a few niggles through your training program.
5. Don't over-do it
While it’s normal to experience an increase in appetite when you step up your volume of exercise, you need to be mindful of your daily food intake and consumption. Mindless snacking can get out of control if you don’t put
some for-thought and planning into your meals and nutrition.
Many people are shocked to find that they start gaining weight despite ‘doing all this exercise’. There could be a number of reasons for this so have a chat to your healthcare professional if you’re worried, otherwise have a look at your
nutritional balance and make sure this is in check.